Kerby Rosanes: On Dreaming About and Creating Magic


Kerby Rosanes is a Manila based illustrator. He works mainly with ink, fineliners and markers to illustrate his ‘doodle’ world. In 2014, Kerby left his job as a graphic designer from a local company to finally pursue his passion: creating more art for personal projects and for clients while collaborating with other artists, global brands and design agencies around the wold.

At 25, Kerby has already published five books including The New York Times best-seller, Animorphia in 2015, which is now available in 29 language editions in over 40 countries.

“As a kid, I was exposed to the
beauty of nature. When not at my drawing
table, I travel the world to see more of it.”


Your work has a whimsical element and can feel quite magical and fairy-tale like. How would you describe your work and visual style?

I’ve been always very imaginative since I was a kid - imagining flying whales, fantasy characters and dreaming about magical scenes. Growing up, I’ve always wanted to share these things on my mind with others so I harnessed my drawing abilities at an early age. Since then, my art style has been focused on putting dream-like concepts and ideas onto paper. 


“Manila is a city of beautiful
chaos - cluttered and crazy at times
yet full of creatives with burning passion
and inspirations.”


What is it like to live and work as an illustrator in Manila? What’s the scene like?

Manila is a city of beautiful chaos - cluttered and crazy at times yet full of creatives with burning passion and inspirations. Living and working here has been a great challenge for someone who was raised in the province like me. Manila has given me access to a wider world of the creative industry by meeting other amazing artists and getting exposed to the art scene the city has to offer for young creatives. While most of my clients for the past years were from other countries, Manila has been the biggest stepping stone towards reaching the international scene.


What is your favourite thing to draw and why? What do you turn to for inspiration?

I always loved drawing anything related to nature - animals, landscapes, etc… but with the whimsical and fantasy twist. I grew up in my hometown in Albay, where our house was in the middle of a rice field, a mini forest as our backyard, a nearby river and a beautiful volcano. As a kid, I was exposed to the beauty of nature. When not at my drawing table, I travel the world to see more of it. On the whimsical side, I’d say I was deeply influenced and inspired by Japanese animation like various “anime” series and Studio Ghibli movies. 






In your 'Geometric Beasts' series we're interested to know what comes first the geometric of more realistic rendition?

The realistic rendition comes first. It starts with a full sketch of the animal in realistic form. The geometric form comes in when inking the drawing.









Do you keep a sketchbook? Are the 'doodles' the result of loose of well-planned ideas?

I have several sketchbooks and I always bring one whenever I leave home for a while or just having a walk outside of a chill time at a coffee shop. I’d say most of my “doodles” came from loose ideas without having to think about how it would look like when finished. It always excites me when just getting into the “zone” and by drawing spontaneously.


Do you have anything coming up that you are excited about or a recent favourite project?

I have several projects at the moment. Mostly client work and collaborations I can’t tell by now. Though I can share that I’m working on another art book, a follow up to Sketchy Stories and would be my 7th published book!


Did you always want to be an artist? And growing up in the Philippine were you exposed to much art?

Yes, I’ve always wanted to be an artist. But growing up in the province, I’ve never considered it to be a fulltime career as what most people say back then “there’s no money in art”. I took up information technology in college but was still doing art as a hobby on the side. My first and last corporate job was a marketing specialist and with my interest with art, I was assigned to manage a design blog wherein I interview artists and get to know about their journeys. It was that job that exposes me on the possibilities of a career in art field. Hearing their stories of success, I then decided to take the jump and start my own in 2014.


What Filipino artists should we look out for?

Valerie Chua

Daryl Feril

Dan Elijah Fajardo